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The King's Spy: (Thomas Hill 1) (Thomas Hill Novels) [Kindle Edition]

Andrew Swanston
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (99 customer reviews)

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Product Description


"Wonderful - rich, deep, intelligent and thoughtful with clearly drawn characters and exactly the right amount of suspense" M C Scott

Book Description

Dark secrets and treachery breed vicious murder in the English Civil War.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1938 KB
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Transworld Digital; Reprint edition (2 Aug. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008R7GH6Y
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (99 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #10,084 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

After reading Law at Cambridge, Andrew Swanston held various positions in the book trade, including being a director of Waterstone's and chairman of Methvens PLC, before turning to full-time writing.

Inspired by a lifelong interest in seventeenth-century history, his Thomas Hill novels are set during the English Civil War and the early period of the Restoration.

He lives with his wife in Surrey.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thomas Hill Trilogy Part One 10 Dec. 2012
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The King's Spy was a relatively easy to read, with credible characters. This book was a real page turner that had me hooked from the onset.

Our lead character a one Thomas Hill is a Royalist at heart - but very much also a pacifist, all he wanted was the English Civil War to pass him by without any involvement by him. This, however, all changed, when Friar Simon de Pointz knocked on his door one night, and told him that King Charles the first was summoning him, to his court in Oxford. There he was to serve as a cryptographer to his majesty, on the recommendation of his old friend and former tutor.

The Historical setting is captivating; the reader is thrust in to a world where there are shocking insights of the time; in terms of the unsanitary environment, the poverty, common place murder, treachery and treason of the time. The narrative is cleverly woven with twists and turns. The skill of cryptographer is brought to the fore. I look forward to reading the next book in the trilogy, and hopefully learning more about the mysterious, charismatic Friar Simon de Pointz, who was like a breath of fresh air in this novel.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read 14 Oct. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I approached this expecting that it would not match the novels of authors such as CJ Sansom or SJ Parris. What a surprise though. It has plot, plenty of action and keeps you guessing with some surprises along the way. It also has a great sense of time and place and Swanston's descriptions of Oxford almost stand out from the page making you believe your are there. What I particularly enjoyed, which is perhaps missing from similar books, is the humour not least of all of the main character. The pace kept me glued to the end and I cannot wait to read his next novel.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The King's Spy 24 July 2012
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This historical mystery is set during the Civil War, in the summer of 1643 to be precise, with our hero the unlikely Thomas Hill - a mathmatician who owns a bookshop and is opposed to violence and war. His peace has already been shattered by soldiers on both side of the divide and his sister Margaret widowed and now living with him, with her two young daughters. However, worse is to come when there is a knock late one evening and an unexpected visitor, a friar, Simon de Pointz, who has come from Oxford on the recommendation of his old tutor Abraham Fletcher. Erasmus Pole, the kings cryptographer is dead, and Thomas is wanted to replace him. Thomas would rather remain in Romsey, with his bookshop and his family, but as he admires his tutor, he ends up travelling to Oxford.

Oxford is overflowing with soldiers and those attached to the king's court, with disease rife and resentment against the war generally high. Thomas is immediately involved in decoding ciphers and proving his skill. However, there is a traitor in the king's midst and when there is a murder, Thomas finds he has more to prove than his ability with codes. He wonders who he can trust and whether he will leave Oxford alive. This is a good, well written mystery. Some of the dialogue seems a little modern, but overall Thomas is an interesting character and there are plenty of side stories to make the novel interesting. There is a battle scene, but most of the 'action' takes place in the brain of the man who has to discover the secret mesages he is given to decode. This is a fascinating era in history and the author makes you aware that for most people the problem was not a queen who was catholic, or the power of parliament, but the wish to live in peace and get on with their lives.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars the kings spy 14 Feb. 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
be careful when buying this book.
i thought it was a new author,but
this book has been published before.
it was published as the kings codebreaker,
by andrew douglas in 2010
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4.0 out of 5 stars Loved It 10 Sept. 2012
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I don't usually read fiction novels, but I was drawn by the book's description which intrigued me, as I do like films like the Da Vinci code and National Treasure which are all films that interweave cryptology into a Who Dunnit script. This book magical weaves the same formula into an atmospheric story full of characters that make it a fun read.

The book follows the exploits of Thomas Hill, a village book shop owner who has a reputation for his ability to decipher codes. His skills are called upon by King Charles 1st to crack codes that may help the King find the traitor within his midst and regain the momentum in the Civil War.

Whilst the plot is relatively simple, the book is written in a brilliantly atmospheric way, where all the characters stand out and seem to become real in your imagination. I was engrossed in the book within a few minutes of picking it up. There are historical inaccuracies but I do not think they detract from the storyline. This is the sort of book you pick up simply to enjoy the read. I loved it and will be looking for the other books in the trilogy.

Well written, atmospheric plot, cannot wait for the next book in the series.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An enormously enjoyable book, highly recommended. 31 July 2012
As an enthusiastic reader of historical fiction I was greatly looking forward to this book. The English Civil War is a somewhat under-served period in modern fiction.

The author brings an unusual perspective to the story with its rare setting of a country at war combined with a fascinating (and educational) look at the earliest days of modern cryptanalysis and a hugely compelling detective story that keeps you guessing until the last.

Often the mark of the best work in the genre is the degree to which the book is able to provide a coherent, authentic and convincing portrait of the place and the era that provides the setting , and in this Mr Swanston has succeeded remarkably well.

This was an enormously enjoyable book and comes very highly recommended, and I'm already anticipating the next book in the series.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Another good novel by Swanston
Published 9 days ago by G J Whitehead
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Have read two of this trilogy and look forward to the third
Published 1 month ago by margaret
4.0 out of 5 stars A gripping yarn
Unlike a lot of this type of novels this is set during the civil war and is refreshing because it's settling. Read more
Published 2 months ago by M. Wheeler
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
well written and interesting but not the same calibre as Sansom or Parris
Published 3 months ago by jan primmer
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Quite good but boring with all the descriptions of code breaking. I would not want to read again.
Published 3 months ago by Patricia-Anne
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good historical fiction
Published 3 months ago by Karen
5.0 out of 5 stars 1600's Thriller/Adventure - Great
Smashing - and it is so good to read about the 1600's - largely ignored (I think) as a period for the Thriller Adventure and Spies. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Gillian
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
good read
Published 4 months ago by k a watts
5.0 out of 5 stars A good start to a series
I enjoyed this and will read more from this author. The pace was good throughout and I took no time to finish it.

Thomas Hill is a bookseller. Read more
Published 4 months ago by 
3.0 out of 5 stars It's good and well written
I enjoyed reading this novel, it's very well done. I found the plot a bit obvious but if it's based on fact I wouldn't suppose the writer wanted to go over board. Read more
Published 5 months ago by leah boleyn
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